Canyonlands Journal
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Folding Knife

Spring Equinox. My tent is pitched near the ruins of a cliff dwelling. When I left for the Southwest, she gave me a folding knife and said, “This is so you think of me when you do your man’s thing.”

The wooden handle is a polished burl with swirls like those in the nearby striated sandstone walls.

I use the blade to poke through the dirt, isolating flakes of chert – the hard stone the Anasazi used to make arrow points. They too once sat here doing their men’s thing, sharpening stone with stone in preparation for the hunt.

In the moments before darkness, there’s a rustle in the willows. I imagine it’s the hunters whispering about the women they left behind, whispering so as not to startle the deer browsing below.

The fire gone to embers, I fold blade into handle, body into sleeping bag, mind into pre-sleep wanderings, remembering the time she slipped from our bed, walked nude with a woman’s willow-sway to close the lace curtains, remembering the feel of holding her close, the touch of her hands raising a fire in coolness of the night.

full moon rising
coyotes yip their way
into the hunt


A revision of a haibun published in Modern Haiku, Summer 2008

Image: Ruin Doorway, Corn Grinding Grooves (metates) and Pot Shard, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Anasazi granary & metate


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